Also known as
A painter who studied under Frederick McCubbin, Glover was regarded for her natural history subject matter. She was also a writer and music teacher, and in the 1930s she established a reputation for painting Australian marsupials.
painter, was born in Sulky Gully on the outskirts of Ballarat. Her father, William Glover, had come from England to Victoria in search of gold, but worked as a carpenter after 1866 when he married Jane Blight, who had come out from England as a child. Maude was one of seven children. When the family moved into Ballarat, she attended Miss Gatliff’s art classes. In an exhibition of students’ work held in 1887, her work was singled out for praise:
Miss Maude Glover shows a most artistically painted group of wildflowers, which are taken from a bunch which she gathered from the Ballarat district and arranged in a very beautiful manner.
Possibly this was the same painting which won her a gold medal later that year in the Geelong Juvenile and Industrial Exhibition. In the same exhibition she won a further gold medal, a silver medal and three certificates of merit.
An important turning point in Maude Glover’s approach to painting is described by the artist’s daughter in The Artfull Duchess . In about 1887, while with Miss Gatliff, Maude met the painter David Davies in Sturt Street. As she was carrying a paint-box, he asked about her painting; she told him she was working on a snow scene. His scorn for copying so impressed her that she never attempted another. She became one of Davies’s pupils as well as taking drawing classes at the School of Mines, Ballarat. Davies encouraged her to enrol at the National Gallery School in Melbourne, which she did in 1891, joining Frederick McCubbin’s classes. There she won second prize in the student black-and-white section with a drawing of a head.
As well as exhibiting her art at every opportunity, Maude gave music lessons and wrote short stories for publication in newspapers or journals under various pen names: 'The Grasshopper’, 'Saxby’ and 'Victor’. Such resourcefulness and independence were qualities which assisted her in the development of her art throughout her life.
In 1905 Maude married William Henry Fleay, a pharmacist, and her painting and drawing took a background role to a busy home life in Ballarat raising three children. However, she continued to paint and exhibit, becoming more active after her children had grown and she and her husband had left Ballarat. In 1930 one of her watercolours was accepted for the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery collection.
From 1929 Maude was a member of the Women’s Art Club in Melbourne (later the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors). She exhibited with it regularly and was elected a life member in 1964. She was also a member of the Victorian Artists’ Society from 1936. Reviews of her Melbourne exhibitions of the 1930s repeatedly remarked on her choice of subject matter being natural history, yet 'artistic’ with a sense of colour and harmony and a breadth of handling, not a mere scientific representation of animals, birds and flowers. In the 1930s she established a reputation for painting Australian marsupials, often collected by her son, the naturalist David Fleay.